5 Simple Ways To Protect Yourself from Identity Theft
May 22, 2015
By Amanda Cassidy
Miller’s Insurance Agency
It’s pretty neat that our society has advanced to the point that we now only rely on one device to carry out many daily tasks. Our smartphones now serve as an alarm clock, a GPS system, a calendar and many other useful services. We don’t even need to leave our house to go shopping anymore; online shoppers find the convenience of buying something at the push of a button incredibly helpful.
The downside of this convenience however, is our increased risk of identity theft. We rely on digital devices as a channel to complete daily tasks such as banking and shopping. Learn the risks of this phenomenon, and how to protect yourself by following the five simple steps below.
1. Clear Log-In Passwords
Many of us allow our computers to store our password for future use. While this is convenient, it increases your risk of identity theft. It’s a smart idea to regularly reset the settings on your phone and computer, and create new passwords.
Never use personal information, such as your birthday or your dog’s name as your password. This is something someone can easily guess, and have instant access to all your personal information. Include a mix of capital and under-case letters in your password to decrease the likelihood of someone getting in.
2. Credit, not Debit
When purchasing something online, always use your credit card instead of your debit card. If someone gains access to your debit card information, they can pretty much drain your account. Luckily, you’re much less liable for damages if someone has your credit card information. Seeing as credit transactions are not reflected immediately, you can dispute fraudulent charges.
3. Don’t Overshare on Social Media
There’s nothing wrong with tweeting about how your alarm clock didn’t go off, posting a Facebook status about how good your dinner was, or share your new job with your buddies on LinkedIn. The problem arises when users share a little too much on social networking sites; increasing their risk of identity theft.
Adjust your privacy settings by changing it to its highest level; this ensures only your friends will see your posts. Also, refrain from talking too in-depth about your family, future vacation plans, or expensive items you own. It’s also a good idea to leave the date off of your birthday, and removing any information that could be connected to your passwords.
4. Monitor Your Bank Account
Banks are generally very good at catching red flags. Some freeze your account the moment suspicious activity is detected. While this should make you feel a bit at ease, don’t hold your bank responsible for your finances. Regularly check on your account history and make a note of anything that doesn’t seem right. Knowing what you generally spend money on is great, and will decrease the likelihood of someone spending your hard-earned cash on a pricy new product.
5. The Shredder is Your Friend
Now I know you may be thinking shredders don’t even exist anymore in this seemingly paperless world; however, they do and they are your friends. Although identity theft is much more likely to occur digitally, it still occurs the old fashioned way as well. Shred any documents that may include account numbers and payment information.
Phone scams are also something to be aware of. Watch who you Add Blog Entryu give your information to over the phone!